Demolition starts Monday on the historic building most heavily damaged in the downtown Gardiner fire last July.

Gardiner Mayor Thom Harnett said the demolition is expected to cause minimal interruptions and will be done before Thanksgiving.

“But what does it mean to have another hole downtown? It’s not something we want,” Harnett said.

The building at 235 Water St. sustained the heaviest damage from a fire that broke out in one of the apartments on an upper floor on July 16. The fire also damaged adjacent buildings.

McGee Construction, the contractor hired for the job, plans to take down the upper-story facade by hand to protect the adjacent buildings.

Water Street is expected to remain open to vehicle traffic during the week-long project, but three parking spaces in front of 235 Water St. will be taken out of service, and the sidewalk will be closed to pedestrians while the facade is being taken down. The sidewalk is expected to be reopened by Saturday.

Advertisement

All debris will be removed from the rear parking lot.

Patrick Wright, executive director of Gardiner Main Street, said Camden National Bank has opened its Depot Square and Mechanic Street parking lots for public parking during demolition.

A structural engineering report released in October said winter weather posed a hazard to the structure, as its roof and upper rear walls were destroyed in the fire.

Building owner Wayne Chamberland has said he wished the city could have taken on what’s left of the building to redevelop it, but city officials have said that’s not financially feasible.

“The challenge will be for us as a city to find a creative way to deal with this,” Harnett said.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @jessicalowellKJ


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.